Dr. Kumiko Kobayashi, associate professor of English at Kyoto University, will visit Southeast Missouri State University March 18-21 as the BioKyowa Visiting Japanese Scholar.
Kobayashi will be conducting research on William Faulkner using the L.D. Brodsky Collection located in Special Collections and Archives in Kent Library.
BioKyowa, Inc., an international business with facilities in Japan and Cape Girardeau, sponsors this program that brings one Japanese scholar each year to the Southeast campus to conduct research in the Brodsky Collection and to participate in various types of cultural exchanges. The Center for Faulkner Studies at Southeast works with the William Faulkner Society of Japan to select the scholar.
Kobayashi received her doctoral degree in English at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her dissertation, “Wondrous Detritus: Thingness and Alternative Spirituality in American Modernist Fiction,” considers the interconnectedness between the robust materiality of objects and a certain kind of felt spirituality through the works of Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Theodore Dreiser and Nathanael West. Her essay, “‘Only the Flat Iron’: Counter Monuments in ‘The Sound and the Fury’” won the Young Scholar Award of the American Literature Society of Japan in 2013. Her current research project on Faulkner mainly focuses on “Go Down, Moses,” Faulkner’s 1942 novel exploring race relations and the lasting effects of slavery in 20th-century America.
The BioKyowa Visiting Japanese Scholar Program is designed to honor the special relationship that Faulkner developed with citizens of Japan during an official visit to the country on behalf of the U.S. Department of State in 1955. Since then, almost all of Faulkner’s works have been published in Japanese translations, and today there is a thriving interest in Faulkner’s works among Japanese readers and scholars.
BioKyowa, Inc., a subsidiary of Kyowa Hakko Bio Co., LTD., opened its Cape Girardeau plant in 1984 as the first major investment by a Japanese manufacturing company in the state of Missouri. In addition to the Visiting Japanese Scholar Program, BioKyowa funds a scholarship program at Southeast Missouri State University and supports numerous other civic and charitable organizations. BioKyowa has been twice honored with the “Industry of the Year” award by the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce.